“An Almost Made Up Poem” by Charles Bukowski

I see you drinking at a fountain with tiny
blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny
they are small, and the fountain is in France
where you wrote me that last letter and
I answered and never heard from you again.
you used to write insane poems about
ANGELS AND GOD, all in upper case, and you
knew famous artists and most of them
were your lovers, and I wrote back, it’ all right,
go ahead, enter their lives, I’ not jealous
because we’ never met. we got close once in
New Orleans, one half block, but never met, never
touched. so you went with the famous and wrote
about the famous, and, of course, what you found out
is that the famous are worried about
their fame –– not the beautiful young girl in bed
with them, who gives them that, and then awakens
in the morning to write upper case poems about
ANGELS AND GOD. we know God is dead, they’ told
us, but listening to you I wasn’ sure. maybe
it was the upper case. you were one of the
best female poets and I told the publishers,
editors, “ her, print her, she’ mad but she’
magic. there’ no lie in her fire.” I loved you
like a man loves a woman he never touches, only
writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,
but that didn’ happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’ help. you said
you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying
bench every night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never
heard again. a friend wrote me of your suicide
3 or 4 months after it happened. if I had met you
I would probably have been unfair to you or you
to me. it was best like this.

“An Almost Made Up Poem” by Charles Bukowski from Love is a Dog From Hell 

6 thoughts on ““An Almost Made Up Poem” by Charles Bukowski

    1. Isn’t it gorgeous? That’s one of my favorite lines…and thank you for not adding the S’s… 😉 pet peeve, lol, though I’m sure most people just don’t realize that’s how Buk wrote it.

      Appreciate your comment, Spacer, thanks!

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  1. Those incomplete contractions throughout the poem….. do you take them as imitating dialect? A metaphor for something lost and no longer present? Or just a general disinterest in making his texts easily readable?

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    1. You know, that’s a really good question. I don’t think it was dialect, nor disinterest in readability. Metaphor is an intriguing possibility, though doesn’t seem like Buk, given his predilection for realism and graphic in your face shocking imagery. This piece is actually softer and more vulnerable than most of his work. I think maybe he just wanted the phrasing to pop, to stand out, for people to take notice. Or maybe even for the rhythm to snap and crackle and jag, to mirror the form of abrupt break he was so fond of.

      Or maybe, just maybe, he was borrowing the style of the female poet he admired? A gentle nod to her or something shared between. Her identity has never been determined, though many have mentioned Anne Sexton.

      Bukowski.net has forums run by folks who know WAY more about Buk than I do. Would be good guys to ask if you’re really curious. Me, I kinda like the mystery. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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